HOOPS: Beavers stumble out of the gate

JOE BURTON and JARED CUNNINGHAM

WELL THEY SURE didn't look like Pac-12 title contenders. But it wasn't just that OSU lost. Most disappointingly for Oregon State against Washington in the Pac-12 hoops opener, it was the way they lost.

The Beavs (10-3) allowed 50 and 45 points in each half, losing 95-80.

Oregon State had been a team that used a suffocating defense in climbing to 10-2.

OSU had been a team that dictated the tempo, asserting their will over the opponent.

None of that was in evidence against the UW (7-5).

Oregon STATE immediately fell behind, allowing the UW to play their game from the start. There was no rush of steals, no explosive runs.

You got the feeling OSU was just trying to hang on, while the opponent had all their focus on pushing ahead and seizing new ground.

Soon the gap crossed the double digit barrier. At the 5:40 mark of the first half, the UW had widened it to 40-20.

Oregon State settled down and chipped away, methodically erasing all but three of those points when Ahmad Starks cut Washington's lead to 83-80 on a deep 3-pointer with 2:55 left on the clock.

But that was it. OSU had used everything up in getting to that point. Forty seconds later it was an 8-point lead again, and the Beavs' would be comeback faded to black.

THERE WERE bright spots, sure, glimmers of hope for the season to come.

Joe Burton was 9-12 from the field, growing ever more confident as he piled up his 18 points in the low post.

Four Beavs scored in double digits, with Angus Brandt (16), Jared Cunningham (15) and Starks (14) joining Burton.

But in the end, OSU's defense failed them. And they'll need to locate it again, more than anything else, if they're going to make a run at the Pac-12 crown and March's Big Dance.

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